Alberta cowboy cuts loose from Mantracker

In a half dozen years, Terry Grant, star of the Mantracker reality TV show, has become a Canadian icon.
Terry Grant, star of reality TV show Mantracker, is leaving the series over a salary dispute. (CBC)

In a half dozen years, Terry Grant, star of the Mantracker reality TV show, has become a Canadian icon.

He's the steely-eyed cowboy who stares unflinchingly at the horizon until his human prey stumble into view.

But a six-year run on the Outdoor Life Network show has come to an end for the Alberta cowboy.

A salary dispute has the TV star back on his High River, Alta. ranch doing his day job – a carpenter who builds custom furniture, renovates his neighbours' homes and occasionally chases cows.

The show will continue, but without the venerable Grant.

Fans upset

"I’m going to miss it," he told CBC News. "It was a great time seeing new country...meeting new people."

Fans of the show aren’t sure the unflappable hero will be easily replaced.

"The response to me leaving the show has been overwhelming," he said. "Thousands wrote in. I had no idea it was this big."

The premise of the show is simple, though ingenious.  Give two people a map, a compass and a head start in open bush country. 

Then Grant and a partner spend the next 36 hours riding after them on horseback.

The show is shot across the continent from Newfoundland to the west coast, from the Yukon to California.

Originally a niche show, Mantracker has won over viewers in Canada, Europe and the U.S.

Show hitting its prime

The show was hitting its prime this season as stars in their own right were lining up to be cast as prey.

Grant's fame even led the professional tracker to be invited to train British soldiers how to spot improvised explosive devices (IEDs) hidden in the ground in Afghanistan.

Now it’s all over. And the reality TV star said he will have no problem going back to mere reality.

"I had a perfectly good life before it came along," he said. "I had a great ride on that thing. The wave crashed on the beach and I’m going to carry on with my real life again."

And when he said the ride hasn’t changed him, it’s easy to believe him.

"It’s hard. Everybody has me on a pedestal like they do all TV people."

"I feel I’m still me and I’m just the guy that rides his horse and am lucky enough to be on TV."

'I'm the same guy'

On the adjustment from celebrity to fulltime carpenter, he said "I’m the same guy you see on TV. I didn’t have to act."

"A lot of the people I do work for, they don’t say, ‘I had Mantracker do my basement for me."

"They just say, ‘Hey this guy does a good job,’ and when I show up (on the next job), their eyes kind of open up a little and they say, ‘Wow, you’re him.’"

Fans shouldn’t hold their breath about seeing him back on the show, Grant said.

He would love to return, he said, but it isn’t going to happen.

"I don’t think the producer and I will ever see eye to eye again. It’s gone too far for too long. "

Instead, he said, he would like to see a spinoff come out of Mantracker - a show focusing more on the art of tracking.